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Video Game Deep Cuts: Another Grim E3 World

This week's highlights include lots of E3 news, a Grim Fandango reading to remember, and a stellar analysis of Another World/Out Of This World.

Simon Carless

June 18, 2018

10 Min Read

[Video Game Deep Cuts is a weekly newsletter from video game industry 'watcher' Simon Carless, rounding up the best longread & standout articles & videos about games, every weekend.

This week's highlights include lots of E3 news, a Grim Fandango reading to remember, and a stellar analysis of Another World/Out Of This World.

Well, that's a wrap on E3, and you can check out all the trailers & new games launched at the show via E3 Recap, a handy one-page site I only found out about this year. My Gamasutra colleagues hosted an excellent Twitch discussion on the week as a whole, as well - likely to appear in text form next week.

But overall - E3 is getting more 'core', if that's possible, & there were some stellar AAA console games on display, even if they tend shootier than I'm personally interested in. (Hey,horses for courses!)

Yet there were a whole bunch of smartly designed games - generally designed to be played 'as a service' for years, not for mere days or weeks - on display. Plus, the new Figueroa had great cocktails, so that basically saved the week no matter what.

Until next time,
Simon, curator.]


Move or Die: Why It's Worth It to Chase Your Tail (Nicolae Berbece / GDC / YouTube - VIDEO)
"In this 2018 GDC session, Those Awesome Guys' Nicolae Berbece talks about how he and his colleagues... convinced big YouTubers to voice act for the game, how they got Rick and Morty as playable characters, how they translated the game in 25 languages with the help of the community, and discusses the massive range of other tactics that increased the game's popularity over time. [SIMON'S NOTE: Move Or Die has done SUPER well on Steam yet isn't incredibly well known, and this is a masterclass on why it has stood out!]"

The Best Indie Games Of E3 2018 (Game Informer Staff / Game Informer - ARTICLE)
"From massive triple-A publishers to the smallest of development teams, games of all shapes and sizes are at the show. While those big-name games may garner the most excitement on press conference stages and the showfloor, it's unwise to overlook the perpetually strong stable of independent games on show at E3." [SIMON'S NOTE: lots of other best-of-s elsewhere on the site, of course, including the best open-world games, an interesting slice..]"

Another World (Jimmy Maher / The Digital Antiquarian - ARTICLE)
"Vintage French games weren’t always the most polished or balanced of designs, yet they must still be lauded today for their willingness to paint in emotional colors more variegated than the trite primary ones of fight or flight, laugh or cry. Such was certainly the case with Éric Chahi’s Another World."

Meet Mark Doherty, the man behind the Fake Kaz Hirai Twitter account (Blake Hester / Polygon - ARTICLE)
"In college, Mark Doherty didn’t have many friends who followed video games — at least, not as closely as he did. When he made jokes about E3, his friends gave him confused looks. So, in an effort to find people who would get his jokes, he started a Twitter account, a parody account of Sony Computer Entertainment’s then-CEO and chairman, Kaz Hirai."

How mods made The Binding of Isaac a phenomenon, and why Edmund McMillen's laying it to rest (Anthony McGlynn / PC Gamer - ARTICLE)
"Isaac and he have now been together for the bulk of a decade, a period that's seen all kinds of change in the games industry and in his personal life. Isaac's come to symbolize the kind of auteur-driven success many enter the medium to obtain, with the kind of longevity major publishers fall over themselves to replicate."

E3 Coliseum: Grim Fandango featuring Jack Black (Gameslice / YouTube - VIDEO)
"20 years ago Tim Schafer’s Grim Fandango released and became an instant classic of the adventure genre. At E3, the cast reunites for a one-night-only live reading of select scenes, live music from composer Peter McConnell, and very special guest Jack Black. [SIMON'S NOTE: Geoff Keighley's YouTube channel has his other YouTube Gaming & E3 Coliseum segments, and it's good B2C stuff - the Coliseum line-up in particular.]

Tone Control 28: Karla Zimonja (Steve Gaynor / Idle Thumbs - PODCAST)
"We've been through a lot together, Karla and I. And now, in what seems a fitting series finale for Tone Control, my business and creative partner sits down with me at the Fullbright office for a long conversation about her background in TV animation, how we came to cross paths in the games industry, and what we've made together. That's it, folks. Thank you for listening."

Eurogamer's best of E3 2018 (Oli Welsh & colleagues / Eurogamer - ARTICLE)
"So to our choices. Once again, we're keeping it simple: five games receive our E3 2018 Editors' Choice award - except this year we picked six because we really couldn't choose. Sue us, it's our website. [SIMON'S NOTE: there's a billion other 'best of E3' articles - feel free to check out some more, though I dig Eurogamer's minimalist approach.]"

Disgraced Donkey Kong Champ Billy Mitchell’s Redemption Is a Sloppy Soliloquy(Jon Irwin / Variety - ARTICLE)
"This past Saturday night, in the Marriott Renaissance Waverly hotel outside of Atlanta, during a panel at the Southern-Fried Gaming Expo, Billy Mitchell spoke into a microphone for over an hour, in front of a standing-room-only crowd, in his first stop on what he’s calling his “Road to Redemption.” He was there to explain himself in the wake of a recent controversy: that his world record scores, including the first ever million score on “Donkey Kong,” were falsified."

Designing Wizard of Legend's fighting game-inspired spell combos (Joel Couture / Gamasutra - ARTICLE)
"Designing various spells to work during fast-paced combat, to be applicable in various situations, to be used in combinations with other spells that can create special combos, and used by multiple players to create cooperative combos, meant a lot of design work for Lee and Bundy Kim, who together make up Wizard of Legend developer Contingent99."

Built To Play: Bad Dreams (Built To Play / CJRU / Simplecast - PODCAST)
"By suing two media organizations, Quantic Dream has done something unprecedented. When it comes to their work environment though, it's distressingly average -- with sexual misconduct, shady contracts, and a disregard for the rules."

The Factory Farm | Monster Hunter: World (Edwin Evans-Thirlwell / Heterotopias - ARTICLE)
"The second time I hunted the Tobi-Kadachi, it ignored me. An enormous gliding quadruped, feared and prized for its bioelectrical plumage, it is found in Monster Hunter World‘s Ancient Forest region, one of five luxuriant wilderness spaces. As I crept up on the creature through the slap of wet undergrowth, it paused to scent the air, the plumes lifting dangerously on its tail."

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is defending a controversial plan to crowdsource Beyond Good and Evil 2 art (Adi Robertson / The Verge - ARTICLE)
"Earlier this week at E3, Gordon-Levitt pitched the idea as a way for fans to contribute to the game, working through his production company HitRecord. But critics contended that Ubisoft was pitting freelance artists against each other in a competition. In a Medium post, Gordon-Levitt says he still doesn’t see the project this way and that it will be going forward mostly as planned."

The Making of Fallout 76 (Noclip / YouTube - VIDEO)
"Noclip goes behind the scenes at Bethesda Game Studios to uncover the story behind the development of Fallout 76. Through interviews with the development staff we reveal the origins of the game, explore the map of West Virginia and dive into the gameplay of this online twist on Fallout."

EA's Patrick Soderlund talks Anthem, loot boxes, and women in Battlefield (Kris Graft / Gamasutra - ARTICLE)
"At E3 this week in L.A., Söderlund explained the broad creative strategies at Electronic Arts, giving us a rare birds-eye view of the motivations that drive EA as a game publisher."

The Game Archaeologist: Myst Online (Justin Olivetti / MassivelyOP - ARTICLE)
"The path along the Uru trail is more tangled than one would imagine, so we’ll try to make this as simple as possible. In 1997, Cyan Worlds began working on a multiplayer version of Myst that would later become known as Uru: Ages Beyond Myst (or Uru Prime, as fans called it)."

Are Score Systems Still Relevant? (Mark Brown / Game Maker's Toolkit / YouTube - VIDEO)
"Arcade classics were all about high scores and personal bests - but can scores still be relevant when mixed with more modern game design? Let’s find out! [SIMON'S NOTE: cites this excellent GDC talk about Assault Android Cactus, too.]"

Cyberpunk 2077 world premiere: 50 minutes of William Gibson-level insanity (Sam Machkovech / Ars Technica - ARTICLE)
"Every E3 conference has that one behind-closed-doors gameplay reveal. The one that combines holy-cow gameplay, how'd-they-do-that visual trickery, and the mystique of hiding behind an “industry-only” shield. The one that sets tongues wagging. This year, CD Projekt RED's long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077 has arguably claimed that buzzy throne."

As a public service broadcaster, the BBC needs to start making gaming vlogs for YouTube (Rob Manuel / Prospect - ARTICLE)
"Reading the news the other morning, I saw the headline “Younger viewers now watch Netflix more than the BBC” and reflected that my own children—aged 6, 9 and 12—never watch the BBC. They’re all keen gamers, and the only “TV” they really care about is YouTube: endless gameplay videos; walkthroughs; tutorials. Guys just shouting whilst playing games, really."

E3 Roundtable: E3 2018 showed an industry on the brink of change (Various / GamesIndustry.biz - ARTICLE)
"More than ever before, though, the industry's biggest publishers are moving towards a future where an event based around showing a glut of trailers to the press on a few days each year doesn't make much sense... Streaming, subscriptions, games as a service - it was all there, for those willing to look beyond the gameplay footage."

Collection Of Rare Japanese Games Leaks Online Without Owner's Permission(Ethan Gach / Kotaku - ARTICLE)
"Earlier this week, a group of game archivists revealed that a trove of over 70 lost Japanese video games has surfaced, including the third game in the obscure Horror Tour trilogy of point-and-click horror games. The release of these games, from the personal stash of a Japanese collector, has touched off a debate about how unreleased or obscure games should, or shouldn’t, be shared."


[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every weekend at tinyletter.com/vgdeepcuts - we crosspost to Gamasutra later on Sunday, but get it first via newsletter! Story tips and comments can be emailed to [email protected]. MINI-DISCLOSURE: Simon is one of the organizers of GDC and Gamasutra & an advisor to indie publisher No More Robots, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]

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Simon Carless


Simon Carless is the founder of the GameDiscoverCo agency and creator of the popular GameDiscoverCo game discoverability newsletter. He consults with a number of PC/console publishers and developers, and was previously most known for his role helping to shape the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Conference for many years.

He is also an investor and advisor to UK indie game publisher No More Robots (Descenders, Hypnospace Outlaw), a previous publisher and editor-in-chief at both Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and sits on the board of the Video Game History Foundation.

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